The Date

"What another dance? You've got to be joking. I'm exhausted!"

It was New Year's Eve 1982 and Morgana and I were having a whale of a time at the musician's ball - an age-old tradition organised every year at her former university. Students who had not seen each other for at least the past twelve months would come back every year just to take part in this notable and quite unparalleled annual event. It was one of the most exclusive occasions of the year. Coming as it did on the back of one of the severest economic depressions in the country, it seemed quite incongruous to be celebrating the New Year amidst such opulence, but I was determined no to let that worry me. 1982 had been an amazing year and nothing was going to spoil it.

We had spent the first half hour making small talk with several people who had shared a class with Morgana. Most were strangers who had not been in touch since graduation but they still felt they had to give me the once over. I'm not sure how I measured up but I fear the one remark I did unsuspectingly catch was fairly typical of what most of the others were thinking, if not actually putting into words: "quite quaint, with a wonderfully lilting voice, but not quite up to scratch - not for poor Morgana, anyway." But I didn't let that bother me. To be perfectly honest I didn't really fit into this crowd anyway. We were here for some good fun and that was what we were going to have. I'd been practising my steps for months, so when Morgana grabbed my arm saving me from some pretty obnoxious comments about the rise of the number of foreigners..., I faced up to the challenge and lead her onto the floor. We danced three dances on the trot, and only during the first did I occasionally clip Morgana's toes. Indeed, by the third I was getting quite accomplished. But it was time for a break so despite Morgana's pleading I installed her at one of the tables and was soon back with a very bubbly bottle of Champagne and a few sticky cakes. Our respite, however, didn't last long, as just a few minutes later the orchestra struck up Strauss' acceleration waltz, Morgana's favourite, and ignoring all my objections Morgana was dragging me back onto the floor. There was just time for one last gasp of Champagne before my ordeal began.

You see, Strauss, not being satisfied with a simply, stately and melodic waltz like the Blue Danube decided to play a joke on his audience. Oh, it began easily enough but as the dancers' enthusiasm began to wear off, so the music got more and more animated, ending up in a crescendo of noise and speed somewhat akin to Keke Rosberg winning one of his several Grand Prix of the year.

It was the champagne that did it, I'm sure. We spun around the floor like we'd never done before and I didn't put a foot wrong. The pride shone out of Morgana's eyes as she let herself be carried off by the music and by her partner. This time, it was Morgana who wanted a break when the music stopped and I lead her to a solitary little alcove where we could be alone.

As I poured out another glass of champagne, I asked unsuspectingly:"Where do you think we'll be this time next year?"


Her reply brought me up short. Of course, I knew we'd get married some day. Indeed, it was quite to be expected. And I'd not been trying to avoid the question. Yet, hearing the word like that, so short and startling, well I guess it did come as a sort of a surprise.

"Darling, I've been dreaming for months that tonight we'd fix the date for our wedding."

"Date...!" was all I could stammer in reply.

Now things were getting serious.

"Wait a minute!" But no, it was for me to wait a minute. We were serious. Indeed, I had never been more serious in my life. I knew I was deeply in love with her. I knew I wanted to spend my life with no other person. So what was I waiting for. So once again, I stammered "Wait a minute!" and dashed out of the room. In a few minutes I was back with a single red rose I'd found in the antechamber and going down on one knee I declared: "Morgana, I want you to marry me on Easter Sunday next year, and I won't get up again until you've said yes."

It was probably the silliest gesture I'd made in my life, but the joy that poured out of Morgana's eyes as I did so, made it all worthwhile.


That's so hopeful and wonderful

23 July 2008 at 18:33  

How romantic!

23 July 2008 at 22:35  

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